Now that the solar eclipse has made it way across the United States, millions of people are stuck with eclipse glasses that are rendered useless.

If you don’t want to keep your pair as a souvenir, what are your options? In Oregon, we love recycling. But with those dark, flimsy lenses fouling up what might otherwise be an easy toss into a recycling bin, what are your options? You can also donate your glasses or hope they don’t get scratched before the next eclipse you plan to view. 

If you want to recycle:

  • Remove the solar filter lenses. Then you can toss the cardboard frames into your recycling bin.
  • The solar filter lenses might be recyclable via a camera store that processes film. You’ll have to call around. Otherwise, those belong in the trash.
  • If you got the fancier plastic frames, those cannot be recycled.

If you want to donate:

Astronomers Without Borders announced a plan on its Facebook page to collect glasses and send them to Asia and South America for a 2019 eclipse. Details should be available soon on its page. 

If you want to hold onto them for another eclipse:

NASA says: 

If the filters aren’t scratched, punctured, or torn, you may reuse them indefinitely. Some glasses/viewers are printed with warnings stating that you shouldn’t look through them for more than 3 minutes at a time and that you should discard them if they are more than 3 years old. Such warnings are outdated and do not apply to eclipse viewers compliant with the ISO 12312-2 standard adopted in 2015. 

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